Men 3rd in second BAL Premiership

Woodford’s men placed a good third in the second fixture of the BAL Premiership at Cardiff on Saturday. Although still some way from full strength, Team manager Gladys Bird was able to field a much stronger team than at the first fixture, which clashed with the BUCS. Cardiff, the hosts, were celebrating their 50th year as a Club and, blessed with good weather, they put on a very well organised fixture which also included the first division of the UKWL, where Woodford’s women were also competing (see separate report). Birchfield won again with 337 points, from Shaftesbury 308, Woodford 299, Sheffield 273.5, Newham 272.5, Cardiff 264.5, TVH 226.5, Swansea 213. That moved the team up to 4th in the League, where points are now; Birchfield 16, Sheffield 12, Shaftesbury 12, Woodford 9, Cardiff 9, Newham 6, TVH 6, Swansea 2. It was a very good all-round team performance with athletes willing to compete in events other than their main one to ensure that there were no gaps. Phil Norman replicated his steeplechase and 1500m double from the first match and there were other “A” string wins from Youcef Zatat and Cameron Fillery, who was one of several debutants and who also recorded a personal best, as did another debutant, Declan Gall.

Photos (by Alex Wardle)

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Will Grimsey: cleared 2.08 for 2nd A string

Youcef Zatat’s win came in his specialist even, the shot,wher, in a close competition, he won with 17.20m. Earlier he had placed 6th in the “A’ discus with 45.10, and afterwards surprised probably everybody bar himself with a 4th place in the “A” javelin with 54.58. In the “B” discus Chris Linque was 4th with 44.70m, and in both the “B” shot and javelin Andy Frost helped out, placing 7th and 8th, after having earlier placed 6th in his specialist hammer event with 57.52m, as Peter Clarke was 2nd in the “B” with 52.77m. In the long jump Tosin Oke helped out and placed 6th in the “A” with 7.09m (0.0), but picked up a slight injury which held back his triple jump later, but nevertheless he was still 2nd with 15.95m (0.0). The “B” events saw Sam Khogali 3rd in the LJ, with 6.95m (+0.8) and Lawrence Davis 2nd in the TJ with 15.27m (+0.9). The high jump saw Will Grimsey in good form as he placed 2nd in the “A” with 2.08m, getting the better of usual “A” man Robert Wolski who nevertheless won the “B” with a below par 1.98m. In the Pole Vault unfortunately Nathan Gardner no-heighted, leaving Ryan McKinlay’s personal best of 2.23m to pick up 8th in the “A”.

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Shane Dewar: came through strongly for 2nd in the 100m B string

On the track the hurdlers gained very good points. Over 400mH Jack Lawrie was 3rd in a high standard “A” race with a season’s best of 51.08 secs, and later won the “B” 110mH with 14.97 secs (-1.3). The “B” 400mH saw debutant Declan Gall, still an U/20, win with 52.44 secs, and Cameron Fillery, also a debutant, win the “A” 110mH with a personal best of 14.08 secs (-0.3). Declan later took on the flat 400m and in the “B” race he was a good 3rd and also set a personal best of 48.08 secs. The “A” 400m saw Alex Bell in improving form and he placed 6th with 48.77 secs. The sprints saw Kaesi Opara debut but was some way from his best, placing 8th in the “B” 200m and “A” 100m. Shayne Dewar showed improving form and he finished strongly to place 2nd in the “B” 100m with 11.04 secs (-2.8) and later was 5th in the “A” 200m with 21.70 secs (-0.2).

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Matt Arnold (88) and Phil Norman (8): Phil took the win by 16 seconds

The first part of Phil Norman’s double came in the 3000m s/ch where, after a slow start, he picked up the pace at around half-way, running the second half at around 8.30 pace and finished a comfortable winner in 8m59.59 secs.  Later Phil took on the 1500m. Again this started slowly, until Ed Shepherd in the “B” picked up the pace significantly after about 600m. Phil sat back and moved up on the last lap and, finishing very strongly, won by over a second in 3m51.52 secs, having covered the last lap in around 55 secs, and the last 700m in 1m41 secs. Ed Shepherd held on well after leading and finished 2nd in the “B” with 3m55.00 secs. In the “B” string s/ch Matt Arnold, another making his debut, was also 2nd with 9m41.21 secs, despite taking a heavy fall at the water jump, but it was not long after Matt (a 9.05 steeplechaser) had gamely filled in for the team in the “A” 800m where he had a good run, placing 6th with 1m53.75 secs. In the “B” Paul Scanlan was 7th with1m57.35 secs. The 5000m was tough in the heat and Paul Martelletti, suffering from a cold, battled well to finish 6thin the ‘A” with14m52.66 secs as James Stockings recorded a p.b. as he placed 4th in the “B” with 15m01.28 secs. 

The 4x100m team were lucky to have a hurdler on leg three when, after the first two legs from Cameron Fillery and Sam Khogali, Jack Lawrie was forced to hurdle a fallen athlete in his lane, but nevertheless got the baton safely to Shayne Dewar, and the team finished 7th with 42.84 secs. The 4x400m squad of Jack Lawrie (49.2), Declan Gall (48.2), Paul Scanlan (50.00) and Alex Bell (47.7 secs) combined to place 5th with 3m14.95 secs.

Altogether this was a very pleasing performance from a team perspective. The next Premiership fixture takes place at Bedford on July 7th.